Interesting article.A similar experience happened to me as a customer this past summer.I went into a Wells in Northern New Jersey and they pressured me into opening up a relationship account. I said I wasn't interested about five times but they kept saying "hold on" and brought over a manager.The manager said he would waive the fees for a year and there was no reason not to open the account. I finally gave in, opened the account and canceled the account over the phone when I got home. Definitely good to bring light on their hard selling tactics.
Scott Mosberg, Hoboken, N.J.
An employee told me he was going to clean up my checking account. Without asking me, he closed it and opened another one, with new checks that I did not otherwise need. They on another occasion moved money from one account to another in some involuntary savings program, without my permission or initial knowledge. I eventually closed the accounts. Your article was cathartic.
Jeffrey Lustman, Los Angeles
My husband and I banked with Wells Fargo for many years. When he died several years ago I went to my local branch (Tarzana) to deposit his insurance check. Somehow I ended up with extra checking and savings accounts. I asked why and was given an answer that made no sense. My husband had been gone three months and I did not have the energy to pursue since there was no cost to me involved.
Anita Arkin, Tarzana
****Thanks for your reporting. No wonder [Wells Fargo] opened a $50 check account in my name & signed me up for overdraft protection even though I never asked for it. This is like the old AOL who penalized their employees if customers canceled their accounts — so trying to quit was as hard as getting out of the mafia. I understand the business climate has become really cutthroat in this tightwad economy and have sympathy for the employees who were fired. They did wrong but were forced into it.
Theo Ching, Diamond Bar
I have been a Wells Fargo customer for years and I can attest to the pushy sales environment that exists there. There is a lot of employee turnover because of these sales quotas. Also, they are transferring people in and out of the branches way too much. This has taught me to use the one experienced personal banker they keep at that branch [in Santa Monica] for stability to handle my more involved banking needs. The national perspective in your article was great to confirm that this pattern and practice comes from the top. Good job.
Greg Wickstrom, Santa Monica
A few years ago, because of my parents’ failing health, I had to take over the management of their financial affairs including their banking. I am a CPA and have been CFO for both public and private companies for over 35 years. I was shocked to learn of the extra unneeded services, overdraft protection and credit cards that had been issued in their names. My parents owned a small plumbing business for over 45 years and had stellar credit; there was no need for overdraft [protection] or extra credit cards. After numerous phone calls with Wells Fargo’s customer service center, I was able to eliminate the wasteful and unneeded services, but that didn’t stop the cold calls from Wells Fargo personnel to my parents to initiate other unneeded services. I hope that the regulators ended up fining them as hard and as much as JP Morgan recently received for the London Whale trading scandal.
Jerry Pellizzon, San Juan Capistrano